A passion for sport
Neil has been passionate about sport from a very early age. The competitive seed was sewn when Mick introduced the 11-year-old Neil to long distance running, and father and son quickly became a well known competitive duo on the West coast. Neil went on to become a professional tri-athlete and has represented Ireland at a European and World level on many occasions.
Neil always attributed his rise to the top 10 in the world to his consideration of sports nutrition and knowledge of rapid recuperation techniques. It was through research in these areas that Neil first heard about the recuperative properties of natural seaweed baths from his fellow professional athletes.
Testing the seaweed therapy for himself, Neil was amazed at its effects. He noted the bath’s ability to remove toxins from his body and accelerate the healing process. This prompted Neil to investigate the tradition of this therapy and the history of seaweed baths in Strandhill, an investigation which would eventually lead to the Waltons reopening the town’s first new seaweed baths in 100 years.
A Tradition again
The therapeutic properties of wild seaweed have long been known along the Irish coast. At the beginning of the 20th century there were an estimated 300 seaweed bath houses in Ireland and nine in the small town of Strandhill alone.
The last of the original Strandhill bath houses, its foundations still visible on the coast, was destroyed in September 1961 by the worst hurricane to hit Ireland, hurricane Debbie. As the tradition had seen a significant decline due to a population shift away from the Atlantic coasts and the rise in popularity of un-organic treatments, they remained unopened for many years.
Through VOYA, the Waltons have revived this Irish tradition of seaweed baths. Their reopened baths in Strandhill, Co. Sligo is now one of only a few in the country.
Since reopening, the seaweed baths in Strandhill have been enticing customers from all over the world. Attracting 40,000 visitors every year to the beautiful surroundings of Strandhill, they have become one of Sligo’s most popular landmarks.